Google CEO Sundar Pichai met with President Donald Trump on Wednesday (March 27) to discuss the tech company’s dealings with the U.S. government.
“I just met with Sundar Pichai, president of Google, who is obviously doing quite well,” Trump tweeted after the meeting. “He stated strongly that he is totally committed to the U.S. Military, not the Chinese Military. [We] also discussed political fairness and various things that Google can do for our country. Meeting ended very well!”
Google also confirmed the meeting with The Verge and its subject matter. “We were pleased to have productive conversations with the president about investing in the future of the American workforce, the growth of emerging technologies and our ongoing commitment to working with the U.S. government,” according to a statement.
The company has faced the wrath of its own employees for its government contracts, particularly its Project Maven partnership with the Department of Defense. An employee petition forced the tech giant to eventually back out of the project. In addition, the company has been criticized for its work on a search engine codenamed Dragonfly that would follow Chinese censorship rules.
Last year, though, Pichai announced that the company would ban the development of AI software that could be used for nefarious purposes, which includes developing weaponry, as well as violate human rights, or where international laws may be broken. Instead, Google’s AI apps would be socially beneficial and not reinforce “unfair bias.” The company also vowed to see if its AI efforts could be “adaptable to a harmful use.”
This recent meeting isn’t the first time Google has met with Trump or his officials. Last year, the White House hosted various tech executives to discuss “bold, transformational ideas” that “can help ensure U.S. leadership in industries of the future.” Pichai was in attendance, as well as Microsoft’s CEO Satya Nadella, Oracle’s Co-CEO Safra Catz and Qualcomm’s CEO Steve Mollenkopf, among others.
In 2017, leaders of 18 U.S. technology firms — including Apple, Amazon and Google — met with the president to discuss how they could all work together to make sure the government’s computing systems are more efficient.